My fifth annual list of summer movies. More to come… this is just for May so far. I must be getting picky—there are only four wide-release films on my list (see asterisks). On the other hand, it’s nice that there are twenty-six films in May alone that seem to be worth watching. For previews and synopses, go to Rotten Tomatoes Upcoming Movies.
- Turtle Hill, Brooklyn – May 3 – NYC release of 2011 film. A bunch of assorted friends—male and female, gay and straight, American and Hispanic—drop by a Brooklyn house to wish its owner a happy 30th birthday.
- What Maisie Knew – May 3 – Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård. A contemporary reimagining of Henry James’ novel, tells the story of a captivating little girl’s struggle for grace in the midst of her parents’ bitter custody battle.
- The Girls in the Band – May 10 – 2010? Documentary about all-girl jazz bands from the ’30s to today.
- The Painting – May 10 – 2011 French animated film with scenes of Venice. “A wildly imaginative tale.”
- Venus and Serena – May 10 – Documentary about the most intimidating year of their professional tennis lives (2011).
- Frances Ha – May 17 – Greta Gerwig. Modern comic fable that explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption.
- Stories We Tell – May 17 – Sarah Polley is both documentary filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers.
- Before Midnight – May 24 – Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke continue with the second sequel to Richard Linklater’s 1995 Before Sunrise.
- *Epic – May 24 – An army of bugs summon mythical creatures known as Leaf Men to help them protect their garden from an evil spider queen. Animated film based on a children’s book by William Joyce.
- Fill the Void – May 24 – Nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, finally coming to American theaters. Drama about an Israeli family.
- *After Earth – May 31 – Will and Jaden Smith, 1000 years into the future on Earth. M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t made many great films, but I’m intrigued by this one nonetheless.
- The Kings of Summer – May 31 – Sundance Grand Jury selection. Three friends decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are also in this.
- Shadow Dancer – May 31 – Single mother Collette McVeigh (Andrea Riseborough) is a Republican living in Belfast with her mother and hardliner IRA brothers. When she is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London, an MI5 officer (Clive Owen) offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison for 25 years or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. Piled up British film awards in 2012. Also starring Gillian Anderson.
- Post Tenebras Lux – May 1 – Carlos Reygadas won best Director at Cannes for this film. A rural couple living in Mexico who own a wealthy estate with their children and various workers. Mixes real and supernatural.
- Greetings from Tim Buckley – May 3 – 2012, Currently available for download on Amazon and iTunes. Jeff Buckley biopic, but more of a father/son story, leading up to his first performance in 1991.
- Love Is All You Need – May 3 – 2012. Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier presents a film about the simple yet profound pains and joys of moving on—and forward—with your life. Stars Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm.
- Something in the Air – May 3 – 2012 French film (Après Mai). In the months after the heady weeks of May ’68, a group of young Europeans search for a way to continue the revolution believed to be just beginning.
- You Will Be My Son – May 3 – 2011 French film (Tu Seras Mon Fils). A wine estate proprietor struggles with letting his son take over the business.
- One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das – May 8 – 2012 documentary. Krishna Das is on a journey to India to discover legendary spiritual teacher Neem Karoli Baba, through drug addiction and depression, to his eventual emergence as a world-famous Kirtan singer.
- *The Great Gatsby – May 10 – Currently rereading the book, but I’m just not that excited about the movie. I blame DiCaprio who’s never done it for me.
- The Source Family – May 10 – 2012 documentary film set in Hollywood, examining a radical experiment in ’70s utopian living.
- The Fruit Hunters – May 13 – 2012 documentary about people traveling the world to find exotic fruit. Bill Pullman makes an appearance.
- *Star Trek Into Darkness – May 15
- Elemental – May 17 – Documentary tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time.
- Pieta – May 17 – Currently available on Amazon and iTunes. The latest film from controversial Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk follows a man employed by a loanshark who is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle when a mysterious woman appears claiming to be his long-lost mother.
- We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks – May 24 – By Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room).
Yes, I’ve left off Iron Man 3 despite positive early reviews. I’m a little burnt out on superhero movies.
Additional source: IndieWIRE’s Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (in 5 parts, alphabetical order): 1: A-C, 2: D-G, 3: H-Much, 4: Mud-So, 5: Sp-Y. Includes trailers inline where available.
I like this The Kings of Summer teaser because it basically gives nothing away about the movie:
* Wide release films.